So as you guys are probably aware, particularly if you read my “What I Ate In A Week” post, I am on a huge health kick at the moment.
Although I’m quite comfortable in my own skin generally, and have always tried to be very body positive (I love my curves!), by the end of last year I was becoming increasingly aware that I was carrying a good couple of stone extra around with me – I’ve always had curves, and I don’t plan on getting rid of them at all, but it was getting to the point where I was teetering over the edge of the BMI line between healthy and over-weight and I wanted to feel a bit more healthy…so I started a health kick, and since about the 10th Jan, I’ve lost just under a stone (13.5lbs – how spiteful is that, it could have just teetered over the 14lb line in time for this post, couldn’t it?!?) and I feel like a new woman!
But, I’m not depriving myself – I’m still eating copious amounts of halloumi when we go to nandos, I’m still going out for dinner when we have people to stay, and when we went on holiday I literally ate my bodyweight in cake and hot chocolate – but it’s maintaining moderation and balance.
I love pasta. In fact you could say that pasta is one of the great food loves of mine. I couldn’t give up carbs for the life of me. So I’ve been trying to come up with pasta dishes with lower calories and better nutritional value.
Packing a pasta bake full of loads of veg and using lighter ingredients for the sauce makes such a huge difference in this respect. This pasta bake is HUGE and the portions are equally huge. You could easily split this pasta bake into 6 portions and be reasonably full (but would probably be wanting seconds if you’re anything like me). So I split it into 4, and even with these huge portions its got less than 450 calories per portion – for a massive bowl of creamy, chicken and broccoli pasta bake, with a perfectly crispy top too – yes, I’m pretty smug about this one! 🙂
So, here goes. As always, if you make one of my recipes, do tweet me or tag me on instagram – I’d love to see how you get on! (I also have this pasta bake making process on my “Cooking/Baking” instagram story highlight at the mo so check it out!)
Serves: 4 Time: 45-60 mins (about 30 mins prep time, less if you’re super speedy, and then 20 mins baking)
Calories per portion: 445
What You Need:
- Large Ovenproof Dish
- Large Frying Pan
- 1 Red Pepper
- 180g Light Philadelphia
- 2 Large Chicken Breasts (approx 250-350g)
- 310g pasta of your choice (I used Fusilli cos the little corners get so wonderfully crispy when it bakes!)
- 1 Knorr Chicken Stock Pot (or similar chicken stock cube)
- 20g Breadcrumbs
- 15g cornflour
- Approx 415g broccoli (or the florets of one whole broccoli)
- 3 cloves of garlic
How To Do It:
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Chop the broccoli and cook in boiling water until soft.
- Cook the pasta – once cooked, save the pasta water and pour the cooked pasta into the ovenproof dish.
- In the frying pan, cook the garlic and the chicken (chopped into chunks)
- Add the cooked broccoli to the frying pan.
- Add some pasta water, the chicken stock pot/cube and the philadelphia.
- Mix the cornflour with a splash of water. Add to the frying pan and bring to the boil, stirring well until it thickens up. Add more pasta water as required to make a thick sauce.
- Pour the chicken-broccoli-philadelphia mix into the dish with the pasta and mix well.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top.
- Put the dish in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.
N.B. You can make the pasta bake ahead of time and then pop it in the oven to bake when you want to eat it – I’ve done this before when we’ve had a busy evening planned but still need a hot dinner.